(As printed in the Palm Beach Post - Thursday, March 12, 2009)
Who knew that when Jim Arrigo, along with his father Joe, purchased his first auto dealership --- a 50-year-old Dodge only facility on Okeechobee Boulevard near I-95 --- back in 1989 that he would eventually transform it into one of the largest and most successful dealerships in the country?|
Then again, given the Arrigo family's history in (and passion for) the auto business, maybe we all should have seen it coming.
Joe Arrigo, the patriarch of the family, had been selling cars for as long as Jim can remember (nearly 60 years to be exact). In fact, Jim grew up idolizing his father and always knew that one day he, too, wanted to be involved in that world.
Jim, who grew up in Chicago, attended Western Illinois University where he earned his degree in management and a minor in marketing. After graduation, he spent a few months working at a car dealership in Atlanta before joining Deerfield Beach based Southeast Toyota, owned by Jim Moran --- who his father had actually worked for 30 years earlier.
"I worked there for about 10 years," said Arrigo. "I did anything that needed to be done and really enjoyed it."
It was after those 10 years that, in 1989, father and son decided to buy that Dodge dealership in West Palm Beach. It was a 30,000 square foot facility sitting on a 5-acre lot, but it was also the beginning of something much bigger --- not only for Jim and Joe, but for the entire Arrigo family.
Two years later, Jim bought his father out, but Joe stayed on as Chairman of the Board. Then in 1993, Jim's brother John and his sister Virginia Landrum joined the team. John then assumed the role of General Manager and Virginia was named CEO. Other family members have joined in the years since, including a couple brothers-in-law, Don Landrum and Bob Watson.
Jim Arrigo added the Chrysler and Jeep brands in 2003 after purchasing them from Roger Penske and, the next year, Arrigo Dodge Chrysler Jeep moved into its new home at 6500 Okeechobee Blvd.
The 110,000 square foot dealership takes up 441/2 acres --- talk about an upgrade! --- and not an inch is wasted. There are 48 service and collision bays, an enormous parts department with more than $3 million worth of inventory, a customer lounge with Wi-Fi access, and an on-site Enterprise Rent-A-Car location, not to mention about 1,750 vehicles (1,500 new/250 pre-owned) on the lot at all times.
"We are volume oriented," said Arrigo. "The higher the inventory, the easier it is to discount. Our selection is tremendous and there's nothing we won't do to help put a deal together. We love to say 'yes'."
Clearly the Arrigo family has come a long way but, believe it or not, they're still growing! In fact, they welcomed their newest addition last April when Jim, John and Virginia purchased Sawgrass Dodge Chrysler Jeep in Tamarac.
"We've been family-owned and operated since 1989 and we pride ourselves on the friendly and fair atmosphere that creates for our customers," said Arrigo. "We work with one customer at a time so we can find out what their considerations are and be sure they are buying a vehicle on their terms - not ours." --by Keith Merritt
(As printed in the Sun-Sentinel - Friday, May 2, 2008)
For 18 years, Arrigo Dodge Chrysler Jeep has been a leading force in the Automotive Industry, based on a 44 acre facility in West Palm Beach.
5901 Madison AvenueTamarac, FL 33321